NINETEEN YEARS A SPRING The President has proposed a campaign financing reform bill to let political contributions up to $100 be taken as income tax deductions and to require stricter reporting, and Cong. Jim Wright, Fort Worth, has introduced a measure to let such gifts up to $25 be taken as a net deduction from taxes and to require stricter reporting. Last week Wright spoke to the House administration committee for his proposal. He said that in 1961 when he ran for the U.S. Senate, some $270,000 was spent on his behalf and he ended up owing $68,000. “It took me two and a half years to retire the notes,’ he said. In 1962, former House Speaker James Turman ran a close second for lieutenant governor, and of this Wright said: “For four years he has been paying from his personal income a regular monthly amount in principal and interest to retire the indebtedness he incurred in that one campaign, and he calculates it will take him 15 more years of monthly payments to get even. Nineteen years to pay for one nearmiss at the polls. “And where does this leave the sincere young American of the coming generation who earnestly desires to make a contribution of his time and talent to the political life of his country? Unless he has inherited spectacular wealth, it lekves him at the mercy of those who can make large political contributions, and who’ll expect him in one way or another to serve their particular interests.” Photo by Russell Lee Former Speaker James Turman A Heavy Personal Price for Democracy ruling denying teachers’ income tax deductions for the costs of continuing their schooling. Tower sided with Mineola schools against a federal holding that they had not responded_ adequately to a federal requirement for federal aid that they integrate their faculty. Tower’s new policy of releasing, the day it breaks, news of federal grants, crop loans on an emergency basis, feasibility studies, and the like tends to identify him locally with these federal benefits, whether he has been for them or not. Tower voted against a special summer lunch program for school-age children that Yarborough supported, but which lost, 37 42; Tower announced his vote, however, for the extension of the expanded school lunch program \(which passed the Senate federal employees’ pay substantially. A Tower release dated July 17 stressed his approval of a 3% pay raise for servicemen and a 2% raise for federal civil service and postal employees; bills to extend federal-state anti-pollution programs for air and water; a bill he is co-sponsoring to allow industries and municipal agencies federal tax credit on the funds they devote to anti-pollution programs and anti-pollution facilities; and bills passed authorizing feasibility studies for six soil and water reclamation projects \(Columbus Bend, Palmetto Bend, Cibolo Project, Nueces River Project, Cuero Project, and Texas Reporting his vote for the school lunch program, Tower said, “The benefits’ to needy children are obvious. The . . . programs develop an annual total business of about $1.5 billion for farmers, ranchers, and local merchantsand federal contri butions account for only 20% of this amount.” Spears, Woods, Barnes Texas labor also voted in Austin to file suit to have the November constitutional amendment to abolish the poll tax and set up annual voter registration struck from the ballot on grounds that the poll tax is already null and void. V Speaking at a closed meeting, Sen. Franklin Spears, San Antonio, made it abundantly clear he is running again for something in 1968. V Stanley Woods addressed the board and emerged beaming. “I haven’t stopped running,” Woods told the Observer. “I’m just running on issues. I’m available for speaking engagements. When the legislature meets I’m going to appear at those hearings, raising cain, publicizing the issues, so when 1968 comes around we can shoot out of Chute Eleven. I’m gonna keep the heat on and give these liberals a banner they can carry.” Talking, thusly, like a candidate, Woods in effect became a potential contender with Spears for the role of interim liberal spokesman. V Speaker Ben Barnes has had a private poll taken on his prospects for gover nor in 1968. Jon Ford reports in the San Antonio Express that it showed Barnes to be known by 45%, compared with Lt. Gov. Preston Smith’s 65%, Spears’ 67%, and Sen. Ralph Yarborough’s 95%. On a favor able-to-unfavorable response scale, Barnes scored 21-3, Smith 32-9, Spears 40-6, and Yarborough 51-30. In trial runs, Smith beat Barnes, 43-15; Spears beat Barnes, 37-18; Yarborough beat Barnes, 53-30. Re calling Gov. Connally’s start from nowhere in the polls, and counting himself on Connally’s backing, Barnes is not discouraged by these figures. V An analysis from two-party system partisans shows that as between 1964 and 1966 in the 26 largest Texas counties, the total vote in the Republican primary declined 71,142 votes, while Spears’ margin of loss to Crawford Martin and Galloway Calhoun in this year’s first primary was 77,547. Martin’s statewide margin over Spears was 95,026, compared with the Re publicans’ primary drop from 1964 to 1966 statewide of 92,037 votes. The advocates of a two-party system draw the moral that if the GOP had held a large enough pri mary, Spears would have been nominated. V The touted prosecutions of voter regis tration violations are fading away, now that the primaries are over. Dist. Judge Archie S. Brown in San Antonio, blaming deficiencies in the law and his district attorney’s lack of enthusiasm, is considering granting immunity from prosecution to those who allegedly voted illegally under the free-vote law. RWY on Farm Wages . Sen. Yarborough has cast votes against expanding House-approved minimum wage benefits for farm workers. In the Senate labor subcommittee, Sens. R. Kennedy, Pell, and Williams voted for an amendment to increase farm workers pay to $1.60 an hour by 1971; Yarborough and Morse, Randolph, Javits, and Griffin voted it down. R. Kennedy, Pell, Williams, and Javits supported an amendment to remove the House’s exemption for minimum wage protection of 65,000 farm workers employed as piece-rate hand-harvest workers, employed in agriculture for less than 13 weeks the preceding year, and commuting daily from their permanent residences to the farms where they work. Yarborough, Morse, Randolph, Griffin, and Fannin opposed the removal of this exemption, so it was kept in by the 5-4 vote. The issue will be joined again in open Senate debate. The minimum wage bill as reported from the labor subcommittee, of which Yarborough is chairman, would extend minimum wage cover to about 370,000 farm workers $1 an hour beginning Feb. 1, 1967, $1.15 on Feb. 1, 1968, and $1.30 on Feb. 1, 1969 \(rates lower than those for other workers Javits would prohibit all farm labor under 12 years of age and restrict it between 12 and 14. The Observer understands that Yarborough’s role in the subcommittee hearings was to defend the bill as it was passed by the House and oppose its liberalization along the lines sought by Robert Kennedy and others. It is contended that the temper of the Senate is closely divided on the inclusion of farm workers in the legislation. V Sen. Wm. Fulbright, D.-Ark., had a resolution in the Senate to allow the foreign relations committee of which he July 22, 1966 9
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.